You’ve taken the plunge and started writing. Most ususally it will be bits and pieces from your life. The pundits tell you to write what you know; and who do you know better than yourself? Well, perhaps you have chosen not to really look at yourself, but at least you know what has happened to that person that is you.
I should include in that group of first writers those who want to undertake writing a fictional work. Maybe they think they can pull off the next great American novel. Perhaps! I am more intrigued by the person I once met at a cocktail party who, when asked what she did, answered, “I’m a writer.” I actually knew her to be an exceptionally gifted tennis player. When I saw her next at the tennis courts I mentioned that I didn’t know she was a writer.
“I’m not,” she answered. ” I only say so at cocktail parties because I want to be taken seriously. I have to compete with other women who have become talented painters, successful real estate salespersons, or leaders in raising money for charitable organizations. How would it sound if my only claim to fame is being a tennis player?”
I thought about that for a moment and had to agree with her. Since I have taken up that lofty profession, I am amazed at how impressed people are if you call yourself a writer. They never go to the next step to find out if you are a really good writer or even a published writer. My tennis playing friend told me she could get several years of mileage out of being a writer without having anything to show for her efforts. Very clever, I must say.
I’ve wondered why so many people seem to admire those of us who call ourselves writers. Perhaps it is because they themselves are intimidated by the process, as all of us were before we took the plunge. Perhaps it is because it is not an easy thing to do. Or is it? I think if you take the cloud of is my writing good enough away from hanging over your head, it is in fact easy and fun.
There are those who will say that one cannot call themselves a writer unless they are published, i.e. traditionally published. I do take exception to that. I think that the publishing industry today is so economically stressed that they take on very few books. It is left to the rest of the writing community to either give it all up or take the publishing of their book into their own hands. Some of these self-published books have done so well that the tradional publishers chased after them to purchase their rights. Even if that doesn’t happen, I believe the authors of these books, at whatever the level of sales they achieve, will have the self-satisfaction of being able to call themselves the author of a published book.